The Grand Stair Hall is an elaborate and impressive public space that provides connection for the street level entrance of the building, one floor below, with the Statehouse that lies just to the west. The predominate material used in this part of the building is white Carerra marble from Italy. The staircase is designed in the popular "Beuax Artes" (French for beautiful arts) style prevalent at the time and bears a striking resemblance to the main stairs at the Paris Opera House. During renovation work in the 1990s, much effort was used to return the marble to its pristine white appearance, after having been stained dark yellow by years of coal and tobacco smoke.
The design and decoration of the entire building proclaims Ohio's wealth and power at the turn of the century. By 1900, Ohio was a major source of steel, wheat, corn and other commodities. Compared to the simpler, inwardly focused 1861 Statehouse, the Senate Building gives evidence of the United States' emergence as a world industrial power at the beginning of the 20th century.
The light fixtures in this space are also original. Because this building was designed in the late 1800s, the fixtures are plumbed for both gas and electricity. The planners at the time were not certain that electricity would "catch on." However, by the time construction was complete, electricity was used in the building.
In 1993, after a three-year restoration, the Judiciary Annex reopened as a new home for the Ohio Senate. Featuring offices for 31 of Ohio's 33 senators, the Senate Building is a fine example of historical aesthetics combined with modern functionality.
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215